Sweet. Delicious. Elegant.
Oh, and BONUS points all you need is a fork.
There’s a reason this was one of the NYTimes’ most famous recipes, and a Lichtenstein family favorite. Growing up, my mother made this every single weekend with whatever fruit was in season. Nectarines, plums, peaches, cherries, blueberries, apricots. You name it, we’ve used it.
Sometimes something is so perfect in its simplicity that it should be recognized over and over again. This torte is one of them. You don’t need to lug out the mixer! If you insist on making it a little fluffier, you can, but I don’t and still adore it every time. While you can use a variety of fruits here, there is something magical about plums, which become jam-like as they bake into the torte batter.
Serve cool on its own, or warm with some vanilla bean ice cream.
Recipe slightly adapted from NYTimes.
5 Minute Fruit Pie
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
12 small purple plums or 4 large plums, halved
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8-, 9- or 10-inch pan.
- Combine sugar, flour, eggs, oil, vanilla sugar, lemon juice, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and mix together until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Press the fruit into the top of the batter. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake the torte for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, leave covered at room temperature overnight for best results.
- You can use any stone fruit, apples, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or cranberries instead of plums. Try to use in-season fruit. Strawberries tend to release too much moisture for this recipe.
- To make a whole wheat version, you can use 40% all-purpose flour, 40% whole wheat flour, and 20% almond meal for the batter.
- Using a 9-inch pan will give the torte greater height and more moisture than a 10-inch pan. The cooking time will depend on the size pan you use.
- If you want to make this look prettier, arrange the fruit in a fan pattern or slice very thinly and layer tightly like rose petals.
- Sprinkling the top of the torte batter and fruit with turbinado sugar before baking adds texture and a bit of extra flavor to the top.
- This torte freezes phenomenally! Let it cool completely, then chill it further in the fridge. Once really chilled wrap it in plastic wrap, then a layer of foil and freeze. Make sure it is COMPLETELY wrapped tightly.
Recipe: Original Plum Torte by Marion Burros New York Times. The times published this recipe every year from 1983 to 1989.